President Buhari has asked the National Assembly to approve virement of N180 billion from N500 billion appropriated for the Special Intervention Programme, to finance key projects.
In a letter to senators at the commencement of yesterday’s plenary, the projects to be financed included the amnesty initiative, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), and the Public Service Wage Adjustment (PSWA).
According to the letter, read by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, amnesty will get a sum of N35 billion. “The total recurrent expenditure requirement to be transferred is N166,630,886,954, while the capital expenditure requirement to be transferred is N14,208,367,476.”
A breakdown of the areas the money would be transferred showed PSWA taking the lion share of N71,800,215,270; amnesty, N35billion; mobilisation of corps members, N19,792,018,400.
Others are: foreign missions, N14,667,230,014; Operation Lafiya Dole, N13,933,093,000; Nigerian Air Force, N12,708,367,476; internal operations of the Armed Forces, N5,205,930,270; margin for increase in cost, N2 billion; Presidential Initiative for the North East, N1.5billion.
Also, contingency, salary shortfall for the Public Complaints Commission gets N1.2 billion each, even as feeding of cadets at the Police Academy, Kano, and augmentation of meal subsidy for Unity Colleges receive N932,400,000 and N900,000,000.
Explaining need for more funds, Buhari said: “Only N20,000,000,000 (already fully released) was provided in the 2016 budget for the Niger Delta amnesty programme. Consequently, allowances to ex-militants have only been paid up to May 2016. This is creating a lot of restiveness and compounding the security challenge in the region.”
On NYSC, he said: “The provision for NYSC in the 2016 budget is inadequate to cater for the number of corps members to be mobilised this year. In fact, an additional N8.5 billion is required to cover the backlog of 129, 469 members, who are currently due for call-up but would otherwise be left out till next year, due to funding constraints.”
The President, meanwhile, said his administration remained committed to ending all forms of violence against children.
At a State House ceremony, yesterday, to commemorate one year of End Violence Against Children by 2030, Buhari (represented by Secretary to the Government, Babachir Lawal) said: “Children need the support and protection of adults. This initiative must be sustained to end the suffering of children who live under the shadow of violence. Nigeria has global obligation to sustain this resolve.”